I Have An Idea That I’d Like To Give Away

I have an idea that’s free to anyone who wants to run with it.

I was shopping a few days ago and I saw, in two different chain stores, one of those huge displays of gift cards. You’ve seen them, right? They look something like this:

gift-card-kiosk

I was in Lowe’s, and they have a huge display where I could buy gift cards to places that have nothing to do with hardware and home improvement. Some of the cards I could’ve picked up were from

  • Starbucks
  • Applebees
  • Olive Garden
  • Burger King
  • Subway
  • iTunes
  • TGI Friday’s (we don’t even have one of these in town)
  • (and of course) Lowe’s

You notice anything those places have in common?

None of them are locally owned.

So that’s the idea that came to my head: We need someone to create a display to sell gift cards for local businesses, and get it placed wherever possible across the Tri-Cities. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to buy gift cards for … I don’t know … Cedars Restaurant or Ice Harbor Brewery or several other of the excellent local eateries? Or how about Walker’s Furniture? Or how about the fantastic Country Mercantile? Dura-Shine? Sharehouse or The Local? I could go on and on — you get the point.

Obviously only a few (if any) of these local businesses have credit card-style gift cards like the big stores do, so maybe this kiosk needs to be for paper gift certificates. Or maybe it needs to be a one-stop website where local folks can order whatever gift certificates they want.

That’s about as far as I’ve thought the idea through … now I’m just hoping someone else wants to take it and run. Because I’d love an easy way to support local businesses by buying gift cards/certificates.

(Photo by playerx and used via Creative Commons licensing.)

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Matt McGee

Matt McGee

Matt loves juicy cheeseburgers and ice cream. With M&Ms. (The ice cream, that is. Not the cheeseburgers.) He's also a sucker for beautiful sunsets. Matt is the editor-in-chief of two marketing-related news sites and is one of those weirdos that enjoys public speaking. His claims to fame are having a letter to the editor published in Sports Illustrated and being an extra in Thelma & Louise. (The early scene in the bar. When the camera is on Geena Davis as she's sitting down. I walk behind her. You can only see me from the stomach down to my hips/thighs. Blue jeans and a plaid-style shirt, as I recall. But it's me. Serious.)

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  • Doug Waltman

    Locally owned, home-grown, organic Kiosks. I like this idea. Not sure where someone would start to accomplish it.

  • Love the idea. Yoke’s would be great place to put these on display. They try to carry local goods. If Yoke’s agreed to carry them, I don’t think it would be hard to convince local businesses to create $25 or $50 gift cards. I know nothing of the buying / behind the scenes process. Anyone familiar?